CHR probes police shooting of 20-year-old man in Pampanga

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 26 2021 01:29 PM | Updated as of Nov 26 2021 05:49 PM

MANILA— The Commission on Human Rights said Friday it would conduct a "motu proprio" investigation into the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man involving a police officer in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Police Cpl. Alvin Pastorin allegedly shot Abelardo Vasquez following an altercation over the noise the latter made and for not wearing a mask on Nov. 20.

Vasquez bore gunshot wounds in the chest and neck, according to his family. 

Pastorin, an intelligence officer at the Pampanga Police Provincial Office, has been charged with homicide and is currently detained at the municipal police station.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia reminded law enforcers that the use of excessive force or indiscriminate use of firearms is prohibited.

"And should it be necessary, warning must be first issued and the force to be employed should only be to neutralize resistance and subdue clear and imminent danger," she said in a statement.

According to the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which was adopted by the UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, she said that law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms.

The Philippine National Police is also investigating the incident and vows justice for the victim's family.

"I would like to express my sincerest condolences to the bereaved family of Mr. Vasquez and assure them that justice will be served following the due process of the law," PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos said in a statement.

According to Bacolor police, Pastorin confronted the victim and his companions for not wearing face masks and making noise.

Pastorin reprimanded the group and asked them to return home, which led to an altercation.

Vasquez reportedly asked for "backup" from his relatives. When Pastorin was going back to his vehicle, he was pelted with rocks.

Pastorin was attacked and pinned down after he fell to the ground, the Bacolor police said, quoting a witness.

Pastorin reportedly took his firearm and shot Vasquez, "who was putting some weight on him."

Vasquez didn't make it alive when brought to the hospital.

In a TeleRadyo interview Friday, the victim's mother refuted the police officer's claim.

"Imposible naman pong kinuyog siya at pinagbabato. Bakit po wala siyang mga pasa-pasa?" Lou Vasquez said.

(It's impossible he was ganged up and pelted with rocks. Why doesn't he have injuries?)

"Kaya nga po doon nga po kami nanggigigil dahil kung ano-anong pinagsasabi niya. Hindi naman po totoo," she added.

(That's why we are furious about what he's claiming, which is not true.)

In light of the incident, the CHR urged law enforcers to exercise maximum tolerance and patience in dealing with such situations.

"Use of excessive force which is unwarranted and not proportional to the violation committed is prohibited by the PNP operational procedures and must be dealt with accordingly," De Guia said.

The agency also condoled with the victim's family and assured them justice would be served.

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